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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Wenders shooting Calabria in 3-D

With his Pina Bausch documentary on hold, Wim Wenders is shooting the first 3-D movie starring Ben Gazzara. While unlikely to reach as many moviegoers as the first 3-D movie starring Ed Asner, ANSA reports the new film starts today in the southern Italian region of Calabria on Monday. It “explores the interaction wwfullheadofhair.jpgbetween immigrants and locals in the area around the coastal town of Badolato. ”People often talk of a global village and I believe the Calabrian town of Badolato is the perfect metaphor for this idea,” said Wenders at a press conference marking the start of filming. ”I have been given a great opportunity here in Calabria. We are telling a story that is not only important at a European and global level but could also educate people on the experiences undergone by migrants.’ The film is to star 78-year-old American actor Ben Gazzara as a town mayor where a local child, who will be cast in Calabria, is struggling to organize a soccer match… Wenders said he felt cinema had an important role to play in shifting the portrayal of refugee and migrant issues away from the political arena and into everyday life. He said the decision to shoot in 3D was part of his efforts to bring ”real life” to the big screen, allowing viewers ”to see reality as it really is,” he said. His interest in conveying reality reflects a broader trend within cinema at the moment, he added ”I think a new cinematic realism is taking hold as the public has had it up to here of films that have nothing to do with everyday life,” he said. ”Over its 120-year history, filmmaking has followed different trends – for example, the periods of realism and neo-realism in Italy. Realism fell out of fashion in the 1990s but is now returning, which I am very happy about.”

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“Roger Ebert claimed that the re-editing of The Brown Bunny after Cannes allowed him a difference of opinion so vast that he first called it the worst film in history and eventually gave it a thumbs up. This is both far fetched and an outright lie. The truth is, unlike the many claims that the unfinished film that showed at Cannes was 24 minutes shorter than the finished film, it was only 8 minutes shorter. The running time I filled out on the Cannes submission form was arbitrary. The running time I chose was just a number I liked. I had no idea where in the process I would actually be when I needed to stop cutting to meet the screening deadline. So whatever running time was printed in the program, I promise you, was not the actual running time. And the cuts I made to finish the film after Cannes were not many. I shortened the opening race scene once I was able to do so digitally. After rewatching the last 4 minutes of the film over and over again, somewhere within those 4 minutes, I froze the picture and just ended the film there, cutting out everything after that point, which was about 3 minutes. Originally in the salt flats scene, the motorcycle returned from the white. I removed the return portion of that shot, which seemed too literal. And I cut a scene of me putting on a sweater. That’s pretty much it. Plus the usual frame here, frame there, final tweaks. If you didn’t like the unfinished film at Cannes, you didn’t like the finished film, and vice versa. Roger Ebert made up his story and his premise because after calling my film literally the worst film ever made, he eventually realized it was not in his best interest to be stuck with that mantra. Stuck with a brutal, dismissive review of a film that other, more serious critics eventually felt differently about. He also took attention away from what he actually did at the press screening. It is outrageous that a single critic disrupted a press screening for a film chosen in main competition at such a high profile festival and even more outrageous that Ebert was ever allowed into another screening at Cannes. His ranting, moaning and eventual loud singing happened within the first 20 minutes, completely disrupting and manipulating the press screening of my film. Afterwards, at the first public screening, booing, laughing and hissing started during the open credits, even before the first scene of the film. The public, who had heard and read rumors about the Ebert incident and about me personally, heckled from frame one and never stopped. To make things weirder, I got a record-setting standing ovation from the supporters of the film who were trying to show up the distractors who had been disrupting the film. It was not the cut nor the film itself that drew blood. It was something suspicious about me. Something offensive to certain ideologues.”
~ Vincent Gallo

“I think [technology has[ its made my life faster, it’s made the ability to succeed easier. But has that made my life better? Is it better now than it was in the eighties or seventies? I don’t think we are happier. Maybe because I’m 55, I really am asking these questions… I really want to do meaningful things! This is also the time that I really want to focus on directing. I think that I will act less and less. I’ve been doing it for 52 years. It’s a long time to do one thing and I feel like there are a lot of stories that I got out of my system that I don’t need to tell anymore. I don’t need to ever do The Accused again! That is never going to happen again! You hit these milestones as an actor, and then you say, ‘Now what? Now what do I have to say?'”
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